June 6, 2013

District Hit by shortage of HIV Testing Kits

The absence of the HIV testing kits also means that expectant mothers cannot be tested for enrolment on the Prevention of Mother to Child HIV Treatment -PMTCT.

A severe stock out of HIV testing kits has hit health centers in Kabale district. Medical workers fear the stock out of the HIV testing kits is likely to cripple the ongoing voluntary HIV counseling and testing campaign. The absence of the kits also means that expectant mothers cannot be tested for enrolment on the Prevention of Mother to Child HIV Treatment -PMTCT.

As a result, this increases the risk of infection to the newly born baby in case the mother is HIV positive.  Alfred Besigensi, the in charge of Kamuganguzi health centre III in Kamuganguzi sub county says the HIV/Aids testing kits ran out of stock one month ago.  He says the absence of the testing kits has greatly affected their performance in HIV testing and counseling services.  Besigensi says several people have been turning up at the health center to know their status because of the ongoing voluntary HIV counseling and testing campaign, but they are turned away.

At Hamurwa health centre IV, the situation is not any different. Benon Tushabomwe, the officer in charge of health center IV says they have not had HIV testing kits for the last two months. Tushabomwe says they communicated the matter to the district authorities and are still waiting for a reply.  Immaculate Mandela, the deputy director of health services Kabale says that they are aware of the HIV testing stock out across health centers in the district. Mandela says they have communicated the matter to their superiors in Kampala who are yet to act on the matter.

Dr. Shaban Mugerwa, a senior Medical officer in the Ministry of health under the National Disease Control Department says that the stock out of the HIV testing kits is not only affecting Kabale but other districts as well. He says the absence of the kits is a serious blow to the efforts to fight HIV/Aids especially the prevention of mother to child transmission of the virus. Mugerwa says that he has already received reports that expectant mothers who turn up for antenatal care at health facilities go back to their homes without being screened for the virus.
Mugerwa explains that the health ministry has already purchased the kits adding that, they will be available within a period of about two weeks. He says that an emergency plan has been put in place to ensure that the outage is brought to an end especially in districts like Kabale where the HIV prevalence is high.

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